Maximizing the Water Cycle for Improved ProductivityJanuary 30, 2014 Blackwood Bounty Farm Hempstead, TX
This Open Gate farm day is unique in that we are partnering with the Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association (TOFGA), as part of their 2014 Annual Conference. At the Blackwood Bounty farm day on Thursday, you’ll see how local farmers are improving profitability and land health, while dealing with ever increasing erratic weather.
You can register for the entire TOFGA conference or just this Open Gate Pre-Conference Workshop. Just select “Drought Mitigation” under Pre-Conference Workshops. The fee is $50 per person, including lunch.
What to Expect
At the Open Gate: Blackwood Bounty farm day you’ll…
- See what fellow land managers are doing to maintain land health and profitability in a changing environment
- Discuss practical grazing strategies to improve water infiltration and land production
- Better understand critical monitoring criteria to determine health of water cycle
- Understand how best to maximize soil cover for improved production
- See how you can improve land health for increased forage production
- Hear how Holistic Management enables producers to better manage risk, make better decisions and enjoy the benefits of sustainable agriculture.
During the farm day, you will have the opportunity to identify common issues and discuss common solutions in a friendly atmosphere. With experienced facilitators and producers on hand, the goal of the day is to identify solutions — and to create a forum for sharing practices, ideas and advice.
The process: small groups of people come together to work on something that is real and current, and each person gets individual time from the others. When you leave at the end of the day, you’ll take away practical ideas on how you can increase profit, production and performance for a sustainable farming operation.
Join farmers, ranchers and resource managers from around Texas for the Open Gate: Blackwood Bounty Farm Day — and take home some new information and ideas to enhance your farming operation.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
|9:30||Arrival & Registration|
|10:00||Welcome, Introductions, Brief History of Blackwood Bounty – Cath & Hans, Introduction to Holistic Management – Peggy|
|10:30||Field Tour – Cath & Hans|
|11:00||Small Group Exercise – Monitoring for water cycle health and land productivity – Peggy|
|1:00||Peer-to-peer Learning Exercise – Form small groups to discuss problems or discoveries and create an action plan with possible next steps and/or solutions|
Located near Hempstead, Texas (about 45 minutes from Houston), a formerly neglected tract of land has been turned into a living learning environment. There are many wooded acres, a pond fed by a natural spring, abundant plant and animal life, and more. The Blackwood Educational Land Institute is an ecosystem and living classroom that inspires and teaches students of all ages to explore the natural web of life and to develop a healthy, respectful relationship with nature. Once you register for the day, you’ll receive specific directions via e-mail.
Peggy Sechrist, Holistic Management Certified Educator and HMI Program Advisor
Peggy is a student, teacher, and practitioner of Holistic Management for nearly 25 years. Peggy and her husband, Richard, were the first ranchers in Texas to create a certified organic, grass-fed beef operation in 1995. She has collaborated for many years with numerous agricultural and wildlife agencies including Texas A&M University, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas Wildlife Association, Texas Department of Agriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Services, Southern Agriculture Working Group, and the United States Department of Agriculture/Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program.
Hans Hansen has been developing growing methods and teaching sustainable growing technologies to farmers and gardeners for over two decades. He’s currently growing high-nutrient vegetables and herbs at the Blackwood Educational Land Institute in Hempstead, making them available to select venues and individuals who live within 50 miles. For the last two years he has been developing a mixed year round perennial-annual crop system in Blackwood’s two 30 by 160 foot high tunnels.
Hans has served as a presenter and a guest speaker for numerous venues and has written articles for various publications. He has spoken at The International Herb Growers Marketing Association, Gulf Coast Bioneers, TOFGA, Texas Master Gardeners Association, The Woodlands GREEN and provided the keynote address at The Texas Herb Growers and Marketing Association Conference. He has been a guest on John Dromgoole’s “Gardening Naturally” Radio Program (KLBJ, Austin), “Eco-Ology” (KPFT Houston) and was a guest on a nationally aired segment of “The New Gardener” (PBS, early 90s). He has also written for a number of regional and national magazines and has served as a resource for well known garden writers. He is horticulturist with Blackwood Educational Land Institute and Blackwood Bounty CSA, and sits on the board of the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Cath Conlon has created a magical oasis a mere hour’s drive from the third largest city in the country. Thirteen years ago, the Conlon family’s 23 acres near Hempstead, Texas, encompassed little more than a forest of trees and brush struggling to grow in poor soil. Now it has been transformed into Blackwood Educational Land Institute, embracing a 5,000 square-foot environmentally friendly straw-bale house, a prolific organic garden that contributes to the meals, a greenhouse, a spiral garden, a butterfly garden, bee hives, a chicken coop, a water harvesting system, a passive solar heating system, a labyrinth, and even a delightful little privy.
This farm day is partially funded by a grant from the Dixon Water Foundation.